The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches from the Rust Belt

The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches from the Rust Belt

by David Giffels


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Award-winning author and journalist David Giffels explores the meaning of identity and place, hamburgers, hard work, and basketball in this collection of wry, irreverent essays reflecting on the many aspects of Midwestern culture and life from an insider’s perspective.

In The Hard Way on Purpose, David Giffels takes us on an insider’s journey through the wreckage and resurgence of America’s Rust Belt. A native who never knew the good times, yet never abandoned his hometown of Akron, Giffels plumbs the touchstones and idiosyncrasies of a region where industry has fallen, bowling is a legitimate profession, bizarre weather is the norm, rock ’n’ roll is desperate, thrift store culture thrives, and sports is heartbreak. Intelligent, humorous, and warm, Giffels’s linked essays are about coming of age in the Midwest and about the stubborn, optimistic, and resourceful people who prevail there.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451692747
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 03/18/2014
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 1,264,357
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

David Giffels is the author of The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches From the Rust Belt, nominated for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, the memoir All the Way Home, winner of the Ohioana Book Award, and Furnishing Eternity. His writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the, Parade, the Wall Street Journal,,, Redbook, and many other publications. He also was a writer for the MTV series Beavis and Butt-Head. He is an associate professor of English at the University of Akron, where he teaches creative nonfiction in the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Program.

Table of Contents

Part 1 The Heart of the Heart of it All 1

The Chosen Ones 3

Stones 19

Popular Stories for Boys 29

Delta Lows 42

The Lake Effect 55

All Stars 65

Kareem's the One with the Glasses, Right? 72

Part 2 Be Approximately Yourself 87

Looking for a Name 89

Working Hard or Hardly Working? 100

Cutting the Mustard 107

Houserockers 116

Trapped in a World That They Never Made 125

867-5309: A Love Song 140

Part 3 Local Men 145

The Taj Mahal 147

The Poet's Assistant 161

Apartment X 168

Anarchy Girls 176

Part 4 The Middle is Near 191

Battleground 193

Demolition 214

Do Not Cry for Me, Arizona 221

Pretty Vacant 233

Unreal Estates 242

Ascent 250

Acknowledgments 255

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